A new report finds that a record number of ospreys were observed in New Jersey during the year 2018. The report was prepared by the state Division of Fish and Wildlife and The Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Report co-author Benjamin Wurst, of The Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, says 932 ospreys were spotted along New Jersey's coast last year. Wurst says part of the increase has to do with less pollution.

"We are just not seeing the prevalence of these pollutants, in the form where it would actually hurt them," Wurst said.

"I think that it goes to show that we have done a really good job or protecting our coastal areas in the form of reducing pollutants that otherwise historically cause widespread population losses of them."

According to Wurst, the majority of osprey nest along the Atlantic Coast. The greatest population increases have been in the Barnegat Bay.

"We have lots of protected estuaries were they can actually forage. We also have the Atlantic Ocean," he said.

The report credits more favorable weather with increasing osprey numbers.

"If you have weather events where you have lots of wind or rain, it could affect their ability to find and catch prey," he said.

Wurst said that cutting down on litter, especially wayward plastic balloons, will remove an osprey hazard.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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